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MUST-DO MEMORY MAKERS Top 5 Family-Friendly Activities in the Canadian Rockies

Making memories as a family and reminiscing together is not only fun, it’s an important part of a child’s development. And if your family is the kind of spirited group seeking real-deal unforgettable experiences, you’re in luck when visiting and exploring Alberta.

Framed by incredible scenery, a variety of must-do activities are easily accessible from Banff, Canmore and Kananaskis. Here are 5 of the best: certain to surprise, delight (and maybe even challenge) your loved ones!

CRACK CLUES & DISCOVER HIDDEN WONDERS

For families with a healthy sense of curiosity and love of friendly competition, this is a seriously unique way to spend an afternoon! A Mystery Towns adventure transforms the city into a real-life puzzle board—where you are the game pieces. And it’s instantly accessible via clues to your smartphone.

Combining the fun of a scavenger hunt, the challenge of an escape room, and the competition of an Amazing Race, it’s an active, phone-driven experience leading groups (and couples) on adventures across town. As you solve your way across the city, you’ll discover local icons, hidden secrets, and obscure attractions that even locals don’t know. Whether you race or relax is up to you!

☜ A Mystery Towns adventure involves exploring local businesses to solve clues.

Luke of Calgary, AB, says: “The best way to spend an afternoon in Canmore. The whole family had a blast!””

Tips for families: In Canmore, Smuggler’s Blues (2hrs) is the perfect clue-solving adventure for families, and it’s bike friendly, too! For an extra challenge, Unchained Melody (3.5hrs) is recommended for ages 12+. In Calgary, families will love Carved in Time (1.5hrs), new in spring 2018!

DOGSLEDDING, SKIJÖRING & KENNEL VISITS

For the ultimate winter wonderland family experience, Mad Dogs & Englishmen leads the pack for guided dog-sledding adventures, and skijöring clinics and tours.

Literally “ski driving” in Norwegian, skijöring is a unique sport in which a skier travels with the help of one or more dogs. Family-owned and operated, the team specializes in authentic, hands-on, small group experiences, within the breathtaking setting of Kananaskis Country, just outside Banff National Park. Visiting in summer? Take the family to visit the kennels to meet, play with and learn about their adorable canine crew.

Robert from Calgary, AB, says: “My wife and I took our 3 kids (9, 6 and 4) on the 2hr Mountain Musher tour and it was enormously fun! Our 9yr old son and I got to mush a sled (together) and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Tips for families: Sled configurations depend on weight. Guests of all ages are welcome, however for infants (children under 4 years old), please phone the team to discuss your booking.

RAFT & RELAX: SCENIC FLOAT TRIPS FOR ALL AGES

Beneath the towering peaks of the Canadian Rockies’ front ranges, flows the glacier-fed Bow River. Surrounded by forests of pine and spruce, and home to some of the most majestic and iconic animals in Canada, this scenic river float offers the experience of a lifetime.

Canmore Raft Tours offers family-friendly scenic float trips suitable for all ages, group sizes and abilities—perfect for first-time rafters.

Robert, from St. Albert, AB, says: “Don't miss this!! I went on the one hour float tour with my wife and 12 year old daughter. We all had a great time. The guide was friendly, humorous, and gave us lots of great information about the area. Everyone we dealt with was very professional and accommodating; we had to change our time at the last minute and they were able to get us a new time for the next day. The ride was very smooth and relaxing, and we would highly recommend this outfit.”

Tips for families: The team also loves furry friends, and understand how hard it can be to find activities where they can be included. For a fun family day out (pooch included!), the Dog Days of Summer Tour allows you to experience the wonder of a float trip, with your four-legged friend right by your side.

DISCOVER THE UNDERGROUND: THE AMAZING WORLD OF CAVES

Thrill-seeking family? A serious “WOW” factor awaits you on an underground adventure with Canmore Cave Tours!

Led by an expert guide, you’ll explore Rat’s Nest Cave: a wild, undeveloped cave in its natural state. No interior lighting, no handrails, no walkways, just an unforgettable journey into the dark, peaceful depths below. Discover the cave’s fascinating history, learn about the geology of the beautiful Bow Valley, and examine stalactites, stalagmites, animal bones and fossils. Like nothing else!

Kirsten from Denmark says: “Our family (2 parents and 3 kids ages 10, 12, 14yrs) went on the shorter (4hr) tour in mid-July during our stay at Banff. We had a fantastic experience and this tour remained our children's favorite activity (after visiting 4 national parks in US and Canada) of our entire summer vacation.”

Tips for families: Minimum age is 10 years for the Explorer Tour (4-hour tour, 2.5 hours underground, 12 years for the Adventure Tour (6-hour tour, 4 hours underground). For the Discovery Tour (which approaches but does not enter the cave), there is no minimum age, however, small children who are unable to walk the whole distance must be carried in an approved backpack and wear a helmet.

DISCONNECT TO RECONNECT: HASSLE-FREE CAMPING

Say goodbye to stress and screen-time, and say hello to a scenic escape in the calming surrounds of nature—with all your camping gear sorted. Inspired by years of camping experience, Rent-A-Tent Canada takes the hassle out of camping with carefully designed rental packages.

As your local experts, they’ll take care of the gear and equipment, so you can focus on the adventure itself. Best of all, the team have the insider know-how to make your trip truly memorable, and love to share advice with you.

Cathy from Sudbury, ON, says: “Excellent equipment and service. Anthony in Canmore was so helpful and went out of his way to make sure our adventure was a success! I really appreciated his advice on the best camping spots too.”

Tip for families: For the great deal on a high-quality Marmot or North Face tent that sleeps up to 5 people, check out Rent-A-Tent Canada’s Package D camping bundle.

MORE FAMILY FUN: FROM PADDLE TO SADDLE

Paddle and discover gorgeous local lakes and rivers by canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddle board with the local experts at Kananaskis Outfitters in Kananaskis Country. Learn new skills with a tour, or hire some top-quality rentals for a self-guided experience of your own.

Want to make a splash with the whole family? Get the adrenaline pumping with a full day of rafting on the exciting waters of the Red Deer River. Join Mukwah Rafting Tours for the Full Jaunty (4 hour raft trip), and experience all classes of rapids, where every 'hit' in the waves is a soaking experience! Suitable for guests aged 6+.

Prefer to stay dry but want to head off the beaten path? Jump in the saddle for a scenic horseback ride in beautiful Kananaskis Country with Boundary Ranch. Multi-day trips are also available, and the Ranch’s western-style meals are a must-try!

Ready to make some unforgettable memories with the ones you love? Find out more and book the perfect experience right here.

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Credits:

Created with images by Daiga Ellaby - "boots" • Scott Goodwill - "squamish valley on the edge of British Columbia" • Hanna Morris - "Toasting Marshmallow"

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